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A Single Woman and a Single Sleeve



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Yesterday I took off my shirt, left on my jeans and belt and stepped in front of the mirror half naked for the first time in a long time. Although I've come across quite a few women that haven't scarred, my incisions are a dark brown, darker than my skin. I can see them without my glasses. All of the places where my stomach was full and round have started to ripple where the fat is gone and skin is there. I stared at my grandmother's breasts when I was younger, thinking thank god that isn't me. My breasts are slack in their cups. My arms don't look like they have floaty devices on under my shirt, but if I hold my arms out I hear Bette Midler singing Wind Beneath My Wings. For some reason, I thought I'd feel different.

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I thought I'd have loose skin, but not like this. I thought I might lose hair, but not this thin up top. I thought I'd go down clothing sizes, but not mismatched (shirt size down, waist down, Buns and thighs and golden girdle stagnate). For some reason, I thought I'd be the person in the videos or online forums or tv and when I wasn't (which was yesterday) I was dreadfully sad.

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I looked at my body and saw all of the same things that I saw before, if not worse. But what magnified it was having interactions with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. Specifically, old flames. To them I have done a drastic change, I am literally the same weight now that I was in high school, only the weight isn't focused in my midsection so I am more curvaceous. And it's a mixed bag of nuts when it comes to compliments or being asked out, because for some psycho crazy reason I find compliments or being asked out as an insult. Every week I go outside I am hit on. Before the surgery my male admires were as numbered as fruit stands in the middle of the salt flats. I literally say no to men (even if I find them attractive) out of some weird vindictive thing. Then I get home and eat Peanut Butter (then feel bad about eating Peanut Butter and then start counting the calories, breaking out a calculator and making sure I don't go over my fat for the day). Next thing I know, I'm at home watching Bridget Jones Diary, jealous that Bridget at least had a fling. Also kind of jealous because she could drink vodka without dying.

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Then it dawned on me. I had reverted entirely to my old way of living. Being ashamed of my body, not exercising, not feeling like I was good enough for men, feeling sorry for myself, and getting stuck in a resentment for a life that has already gone by. Not focusing on the life that is still moving forward. So, I called my old male friend and we met up.

I know men shouldn't validate me...but men do validate me. And when he saw me and I saw him and he gave me that look, it made me feel a certain kind of way. And I told him everything, literally down to the wind beneath my wings, and he listened. And he said, "So."

And I was confused. I asked him so what.

He said, "So. Who cares?"

I thought that was awfully mean.

Then he added, "No one cares about what you see when you see yourself in the mirror. All that matters is what they see on the outside. I don't even mean just your body though. I mean, like, people can see what kind of person you are. You know the reason why I wanted to be your friend?"

I thought it was because I was funny and nerdy and he was too (which now he is hot).

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He said he wanted to be my friend because he thought I was attractive but was too afraid to ask me out. So, he approached me as a friend. And he said what made him like me the most was how I was with other people. When he was around me, he said that everything else would disappear when I laughed. He said my voice was soft. The way I touched his arm all playful made him mush in the knees. He said he knew I was overweight, knew I was frumpy, but for some reason none of that bothered him because it didn't matter. He says attraction is attraction just as confidence is confidence. He says some people just have it and I have it, I just choose to ignore it because I listen to everyone else but myself (as I listened to him).

And I thought about it...I must've had confidence. Enough confidence to have half my stomach chopped off. I must've had enough confidence to take off my shirt and look in the mirror. I must've had confidence to know when to put the peanut butter down. I was confident enough to turn someone down, confident that I didn't need to be validated by a man (even though, I repeat, this is still a contradiction). I'm confident enough to learn to be more confident?

I just wanted to say confidence one more time. Such a confident word, that is.

I'm not perfect. I shouldn't strive to be imperfect. I should work towards being confident and not content. I'm still working on these things, you know.

Anyone else struggling?

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You are such a beautiful soul... You don't need anyone to validate you... And you friend is rite when you are confident, positive and happy about who you are... The positivity beams, your happiness makes you radiate and people love being around happy people....

Be a happy person.... That will change everything around you ????

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Thank you for sharing all this. Great post and reminder that the struggle to self love is indiscriminate of those digits on a scale.

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You should add writer to your self appreciated talents! Delightful read!

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I am only a month out, and my loss isn't super noticeable yet but I wonder if I'll feel the same way in the future. You're a very powerful writer.

Whenever a man speaks to me, I assume he wants my skinny friend's phone number. When someone actually expresses interest in me, I'm confused, because who could find fat me attractive? When I'm thinner, will I be angry that I wasn't good enough fat but now I'm worthy of being hit on?

I am in the dating world, and no one outside of this website knows of my surgery (no family, no friends) so navigating dating is scary for me.

I hope I too can find the confidence in myself!

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I love this post.

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Wonderful post!!

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Thanks for sharing your story. It seems like we're destined in life to beat ourselves up if we're not actively avoiding it. We beat ourselves up because we're fat. We beat ourselves up because we've lost weight and now we're jiggly.

I love that word confidence, too... I've found mind since the surgery but not just in how I feel or look but ALL the great things I am! :) I'm not beating myself up any more and I won't let anybody else do that to me, either.

You go girl!

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Thank you. What a wonderful post.

I have also felt badly about my loose skin and worried about how men felt. I feel embarrassed to have had surgery sometimes. I have told a few men about my surgery and weight loss and all of them still wanted to date me. Yet it still doesn't reach my head that it doesn't matter! That we are a sum of our parts and attraction doesn't come down to one or two flaws but is a whole picture thing.

You're beautiful and I can tell a funny and smart person. I am too and that's the truth. Love has to start at home, don't you think?

I'm proud of you for all of your accomplishments.

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Thanks for your posts. I love the word "Confidence". I will put it in practice myself.

This is what i will say to myself every morning when i wake up:

"I am beautifully made, I am loved, I am unique, I am approved, I am good, i have a purpose, i am joyful and filled with God's grace!"

It actually does make a good difference when I say those words to myself.

God blessings to all.;-)

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This has touched me in more ways than I could ever describe. Thank you for being confident enough to post this!!

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